Keynote Speakers Announced for Annual Young Conservatives of Texas Convention

In a press release on Tues. Mar. 9, The Young Conservatives of Texas (YCT) announced its keynote speakers for its annual convention, which will be held April 23-25, 2012. Each of the two days of the convention will feature educational panels throughout the day, along with larger events featuring notable keynote speakers in the evenings. On Saturday night, the keynote speakers will be U.S. Congressman Chip Roy (R-TX) and Representative Mayes Middleton (R-23). The speakers for Friday night’s reception will be Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and the honorable Steve Munisteri, former chairman of the Republican Party of Texas and founder of YCT.

YCT announced in a press release on Wed., Feb. 3, that Cruz would be the keynote speaker for Friday night. Manfred Wendt, the Executive Director of YCT, expressed his excitement for YCT to host the senator in the press release, saying that “Senator Cruz has proven to be a rock-ribbed Conservative who fights for the people of Texas.”

The keynote speaker for Saturday night, Congressman Roy, serves as the Congressional Representative for Texas’ 21st district and as a member of the House Freedom Caucus. In YCT’s second press release, Wendt describes Roy as “the leading conservative in Washington” who “leads the fight in support of conservative principles and serves as a role model for young conservatives across the state of Texas.” Roy has had a long history of working with YCT, including serving as the keynote speaker for their convention in 2019. YCT has been heavily involved in both his 2018 and 2020 campaigns.

Representative Middleton is currently serving in his second session in Texas’ House of Representatives. In YCT’s legislative scorecard, wherein they provide a score to each state legislator according to how conservative their voting record is, Middleton was awarded a score of 97 for the 86th legislative session, the highest of all the house members and senators. He currently serves as the chairman for the Texas Freedom Caucus, which is composed of members all ranked highly by YCT.

According to YCT’s press release from Mar. 9, there is an expected attendance of over 200 at each of these speaking engagements.

Congressman Chip Roy Zooms to Trinity University

Local Congressman Chip Roy (R-TX) met with students at Trinity University to discuss conservative issues in Congress and in their district.

On Tues. Mar. 2, 2021, Congressman Chip Roy (R-Texas) came to Trinity University to speak to students. The event was run and sponsored by the Young Conservatives of Texas (YCT) chapter. 

Nathan Darsch, Class of 2022 and Chairman of YCT at Trinity University, said that he “asked Congressman Chip Roy to speak at the meeting because he is what we need more of in Congress.” Darsch also said that Roy “is a true conservative who will put his principles before party and I wanted my members to see that there are people genuinely fighting for conservative values and trying to make life better for future generations. My hope is that by listening to Congressman Roy it will encourage my members to help get more people like him elected in the future.”

Roy spoke about Texas Independence, COVID-19, and the importance of preserving individual freedoms. Roy spoke to the students for about 30 minutes, and then spent the last 30 minutes of the meeting answering questions in a Q&A format. Attendees of the event asked questions about COVID-19 relief bills, upcoming gun control bills, and fiscal responsibility (or lack thereof) of the United States government. 

When asked about fiscal responsibility and the government’s infringement of individual freedoms, Roy asked his audience to consider one important fact: “You cannot fund the people who are taking your freedom away and expect to have freedom.” Roy told students that states should use their power to keep the federal government in check, especially states like Texas that have citizens whose freedoms are being infringed by the federal government. The government’s primary function is to protect its citizens, and state governments should protect their citizens even from the federal government if it is necessary.

Roy made sure to clarify that he did not support a physical uprising–nor does he condone the the events at the United States Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021–but he did say that states should take legal action against the federal government if things get out of hand and it is necessary to do so in order to protect the freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution. 

Students who attended the event felt positively about Roy and his talk. Joseph Burrhus, Class of 2024, said that “Our meeting with Congressman Chip Roy was both inspiring and educational. He was able to communicate powerful arguments and explanations about important issues while also expressing his passionate love and devotion toward the country and the people he serves.” When asked about how the event influenced his views of YCT or his desire to attend future meetings, Burrhus said “After the meeting with Chip Roy, I feel more incentivized to go to YCT meetings because they are a great opportunity to learn about different issues, why they are important, and what can be done to fix them.”

Emma McMahan, Class of 2021 and a former officer of YCT, also enjoyed the meeting. She thought that Roy’s “ introductory speech in the beginning of the meeting reeled me into the discussion because he was obviously passionate about his beliefs, decreasing federal spending, for instance.” McMahan also commented on YCT’s friendly relationship with Roy, for whose campaign many YCT members from Trinity University have volunteered to blockwalk and phonebank. “I think YCT having a close connection with a U.S. Congressman like Chip Roy is a good thing because it gives us a good reputation as a conservative club.”

Ellis Jacoby, Class of 2024, also enjoyed the event. When asked about his reaction to Roy’s talk, he said that Roy “was really interesting and gave me some insight into how Congress really works. His explanation on how few chances he has to propose amendments to bills really shows how little influence individual Congressman have over the bills that Congress passes.” Jacoby also mentioned that Roy’s “level of concern for our national debt and his calls to have us hold our members of Congress accountable definitely encouraged me to do more to influence my representatives.” 

The event encouraged members of YCT to interact more with their local government and representatives, and to keep fighting for conservative values. The small event enabled for personal discussions and connections between club members and Roy, and students enjoyed the experience to meet with their Congressman and hear his opinions on important conservative issues. 

Chip Roy: Texas’s Rising Star

With the 2020 election coming to a close and the 2021 Texas legislative session beginning, conservatives have begun reflecting on the past year’s election results. One thing is clear: Chip Roy is something special. Representing the 21st congressional district, considered a toss-up going into election night, he easily won by seven points even while his competitor Wendy Davis outspent him $10.3 million to $5 million. Chip Roy was able to win a changing, increasingly suburban district that Republicans have struggled to stay relevant in. A fiscal and social conservative hawk, he was able to articulate a conservative message that appealed to swing voters. Of a boring, tame, and weak Texas congressional delegation, he is the shining star for conservatives. 

This begs the question: what is next for Congressman Chip Roy? With a law degree from the University of Texas, his conservative voting record, and previous experience in the Attorney General’s office, he is a strong candidate to replace Ken Paxton — who has shown himself to be a legal (and moral) liability to the conservative movement as a revolving door into and out of the courtroom. 

His conservative voting record makes him a conservative dark horse to take on Governor Greg Abbott, who is more and more at war with his party’s conservative base. Greg Abbott, originally embraced by Texas conservatives for suing President Obama, has gone on to infuriate conservatives by endorsing moderates in the 2020 Republican Primary Runoff. Additionally, Abbott has flip-flopped on his stance on the coronavirus pandemic, initially supporting similar lockdown measures being pushed by the left and Democratic governors like Gavin Newsom and Andrew Cuomo, and now is saying he does not plan on enforcing another statewide lockdown.

Abbott’s flip-flopping stance contrasts with Chip Roy, who has been a staunch supporter of reopening the economy and making sure lockdowns and mandates do not exceed their constitutional parameters or unnecessarily harm the economy and local businesses. With the current virus, we need leaders who will not exceed their own powers and make sure that actions taken during disasters like this do not cause more harm than good.

Winning either of these races would also bring younger and fresher faces to either position. If elected, Chip Roy, 48 years old, would not only be the first Gen Xer to hold the Attorney Generalship or Governorship in Texas, but would also be a decade or more younger than the incumbents.

Texans right now are looking for a conservative leader that can take them through this next decade. A leader with a fresh pair of eyes to tackle the upcoming issues and that will not buckle when put under pressure or exceed their constitutional authority when given the opportunity. Having proven himself as an attorney, a Congressman, and a firm believer in the United States and Texan constitutions, Chip Roy is that leader.

Prayer, MLK at heart of Alamo March for Life

Last Saturday, hundreds of San Antonians marched downtown from the Alamo Plaza in peaceful protest of Roe v. Wade.

On Saturday, hundreds of San Antonians marched downtown from the Alamo Plaza in peaceful protest of Roe v. Wade. Both the young and old attended, including Pro-Life groups from Trinity University and UTSA. The Knights of Columbus headed the march, with the March for Life banner behind them. 

After the “March for Life,” locals gathered at the Main Plaza in front of the San Fernando Cathedral for the San Antonio Rally for Life, in front of the San Antonio City Council Chambers and at the heart of San Antonio. There, people registered to vote and pro-life advocates like Dr. Pat Castle, founder of Life Runners and government officials like Congressman Chip Roy (R-21) spoke out against abortion. 

“We know that if San Antonio goes, then Texas goes. And if Texas goes, then so does the United States of America,” Dr. Castle said on stage. 

The rally started with Reverend Will Davis leading prayer.

Terry Herring of Allied Women’s Center was the first to speak, motivating her listeners to do more for the Pro-Life cause. “It’s time to leave our comfort zones… to take your pro-life involvement to a higher level. Ask the Lord, God, today, ‘What can I do to put on the heat?’ There’s a lot more that needs to be done.” She then cited how she has been arrested seven times outside the abortion clinics while taking pregnant girls in. “I want to challenge every one of you here: get out of your comfort zone. Brace the heat. And we’ll see you next year, and you can tell me, ‘Hey, this is what I did to brace my heat.’” She then introduced her own granddaughter to show that even the smallest of them can do something. Herring spoke about how her granddaughter spent many of her afternoons at the Allied Women’s Center helping give out diapers to pregnant women in need. “No matter how old or how small you are, there are things you can do to help,” Herring said.

Congressman Pete Flores of District 19, the largest senate district in Texas, also spoke at the rally. “I believe that most of us in Texas, especially in the district that I represent, are pro-life. We are pro-family. We are pro-God. We are pro-country. And for that we also do not apologize to anyone,” he said. He described how he and many other Texas representatives in the last Texas legislature struck all the abortion bills down and passed Senate Bill 22, which protects taxpayers from subsidizing abortion providers and their affiliates, and House Bill 16, which protects children born alive after abortions. “It’s a shame that in this day in age that we should even have the conversation about terminating a human being on a botched abortion… we should not even be discussing this topic in our great United States of America, much less our magnificent Texas.” 

Congressman Flores then called for everyone to show up at the polls. “At the last city elections here in San antonio, 14% showed up. The rest stayed home, and then we want to complain about the policies that come up after that. A lot of our opponents say that elections have consequences. They sure do… You must stay involved. You must stay engaged. You must have a voice. And you’re doing it today. If you don’t stand up, then you’ll be dictated to… So let us know what you think. Be vocal. Hold us accountable, always, and if we don’t do our job, vote us out. That is a life from the moment of conception. It’s a human being with a separate soul that God knows. And it’s up to us to protect them.”

After Congressman Flores, Congressman Roy spoke up at the rally, calling to attention that Martin Luther King Jr. Day was also coming up alongside the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. He quoted Martin Luther King Jr. that “we want to be able to celebrate the content of one’s character, not the color of their skin. Yet, the color of your skin or your economic circumstances of your parents are now too often deciding whether or not you live or die before you are given the first breath of life. That should not be the case.”

The Alamo March for Life and the San Antonio Rally for Life was sponsored by the San Antonio Family Association, Shavano Family Practice, and Allied Women’s Center.

The Darsch Report: April 1 – 7

San Antonio Baby With No Skin

A San Antonio baby that was born without any skin from the neck down will begin to receive treatment sometime next week at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston.

The child, Ja’bari Gray, was born to 25-year-old Priscilla Maldonado on Jan 1, 2019, after what seemed to be a normal and healthy pregnancy. That was until the baby was born and doctors realized that something was seriously wrong

“It was just completely silent. You know, you expect people to be happy after you have a baby and I had no idea until they put me in a room and explained what was going on,” said Maldonado describing the moments after she gave birth to her son.

While speaking to the doctors she was told that her son has a rare disease known as Aplasia Cutis and that it is the third known case in the US. Because of the rarity of this disease doctors don’t currently know how to properly treat it so the doctors were treating it as burns.

He remains on life support and Maldonado says doctors have told her there is nothing more they can do.

The family is planning funeral arrangements and trying to pay for medical bills. If you would like to donate then please click here.

Wendy Davis and CD-21

Wendy Davis, a former Democratic member of the Texas State Senate for District 10 in the Fort Worth area, says that she is not running for the US Senate in 2020 but instead is looking at a bid at Congressional District 21, which is Trinity University’s district.

Though she has mulled a Senate run in the past, in the podcast, “The Rabble: TX Politics for the Unruly Mob,” Davis made clear she is no longer weighing a Senate campaign and reiterated her call for U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro of San Antonio to enter the race.

“There’s a reason I made a decision not to run for this Senate seat against John Cornyn,” Davis said on the show, which was taped Thursday. “I’ve been very candid about the fact that my dear friend Joaquin Castro is someone that I’d like to see run.”

Congressional District 21 is currently held by Republican Chip Roy who won the district in 2018 against Democrat Joseph Kopser 50.2%-47.6%. Kopser has considered running for the district again but recently announced that he will not be seeking office in 2020.

TX-21 is one of six GOP-held districts in Texas that national Democrats are now targeting for next year. It stretches from Austin to San Antonio and out to the Hill Country.

“Joseph Kopser gave a valiant effort [in 2018] — worked so, so hard and came very, very close,” Davis said on the podcast. “Can we do it for 2020? I want to make sure that we have the ability to win it, and I believe we do. And, I want to believe I’m the right person to help us do that.”

Pro-Life Bill Passed Out of Senate

On Tuesday, April 2, a bill targeting the transfer of taxpayer dollars from state and local governments seeking to help fund the operations of abortion providers passed out of the Texas Senate.

Senate Bill 22 by State Sen. Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels) passed with 20 ayes and 11 nays. State Sen. Eddie Lucio (Brownville) was the lone Democrat to cross party lines in support of the legislation.

The bill would prevent local governments from contracting with or providing tax dollars to abortion providers.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick included SB 22 among three pro-life bills in his 30 legislative priorities for the chamber early last month. Patrick issued the following statement after the passage of the bill Tuesday:

“There is nothing more important than defending the defenseless. Senate Bill 22, authored by Sen. Campbell, will continue Texas’ commitment to defend the most vulnerable in our society and preserve the sanctity of life. Senate Bill 22 protects Texas taxpayers and affirms Texas’ commitment to protecting life. I strongly support this legislation and congratulate Sen. Campbell for carrying this important bill.”

The bill now heads to the Texas House, where pro-life bills have largely languished so far in the 86th Legislative Session.

US Economy

The stock market this week has done great and is reapproaching record highs. The Dow Jones increased to 26,424.99 on Friday, increasing by +496.31 points, or +1.91 percent over its March 29 close of 25,928.68. The S&P 500 increased by +58.34 points or +2.06 percent on Friday. In addition, the Nasdaq increased on Friday by +2.71 percent. The Dow Jones, S&P 500 and Nasdaq are each 403.4, 21.3, and 171 points from topping their respective record highs.

A favorable jobs report also came out this week showing that about 196,000 jobs were added to the US, more than the 175,000 jobs estimated by experts. The unemployment rate holds steady at 3.8 percent with wages increasing 3.2 % year over year however this came at the same time that the labor force participation rate decreased by 0.2% to its lowest level since November.

The Atlanta FED is also giving some favorable numbers in its GDPNow forecast showing that the US economy in the first quarter of 2019 will increase by 2.1%.

It appears that the US economy isn’t stalling yet, something that worried investors in February, but instead continues to grow strong. With the US and China coming closer to a trade deal within the next month or two, one can expect the US economy to remain strong for the rest of the year.

USDA and Testing on Kittens

On Tuesday, April 2, the U.S. Department of Agriculture that it’s putting an end to a controversial research program that led scientists to kill thousands of cats over decades.

Since 1982 the USDA’s Agricultural Research Services division had been conducting experiments that involved infecting cats with toxoplasmosis — a disease usually caused by eating undercooked contaminated meat — in order to study the foodborne illness. Once the cats were infected and the parasite harvested, the felines were put down.

In a statement announcing the decision, the agency said: “toxoplasmosis research has been redirected and the use of cats as part of any research protocol in any ARS laboratory has been discontinued and will not be reinstated.”

Additionally, the USDA said it is in the process of putting the 14 remaining uninfected cats up for adoption by agency employees.

The USDA has been facing increasing pressure to shut down this practice with bipartisan legislation to end the practice being introduced to Congress last month.

Brexit Update

With just five days until the UK is meant to leave the European Union on Friday, April 12 at 11:00 pm BST, it is uncertain if the Labor Party, Conservative Party, and EU will be able to come to a deal that they can all agree to.

Theresa May is currently undergoing talks with Labor to reach a deal as she has said that only a cross-party pact will get the support of a majority of the members of Parliament as the Democratic Unionist Party and some Tories have rejected her deal with the EU.

However, several Conservatives have strongly criticized the move. Additionally, very few details have come out as to what a Conservative-Labor deal would look like.

The Prime Minister is due at an emergency summit in Brussels on Wednesday when EU leaders will expect to hear fresh plans.

On Sunday, May tweeted a video message, explaining her decision to negotiate with Labour.

“We absolutely must leave the European Union… that means we need to get a deal over the line and that’s why we’ve been looking for new ways – a new approach – to find an agreement in Parliament,” she said.

“People didn’t vote on party lines when it came to the Brexit referendum. And I think members of the public want to see their politicians working together more often.”

Theresa May has already acted in bad faith by not honoring her agreement to leave the EU on March 29 and instead asking for an extension so that she can negotiate a deal. The pressure to negotiate any deal at all over no deal is mounting for May. It will not be surprising if in the next week Theresa May has a deal passed that essentially keeps the UK as part of the EU or she is granted another extension.

Inaugural Alamo March for Life Draws Crowd

Trinity students participate in the Alamo March for Life. Image courtesy Tigers for Life.

On Sunday, Jan. 20, a few days before the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the San Antonio Family Association (SAFA) hosted the 43rd San Antonio Rally for Life and the first Alamo March for Life at Alamo Plaza to protest Roe and the abortion industry. The march began at Alamo Plaza, progressed to Travis Park, and finished at the Plaza. First Lady of Texas Cecilia Abbott was the keynote speaker, joined by State Senator Peter Flores (R-San Antonio) and Nathan McDaniel, representing Congressman Chip Roy (R-CD21). Fr. Will Combs of St. Mary Magdalen Catholic Church led the opening prayer.

In the past, SAFA has attempted to get permits from the city of San Antonio to host the event at  Alamo Plaza but has been unsuccessful. In his remarks at the rally, Patrick Von Dohlen, president of SAFA, attributed their success this year to the legal assistance of a SAFA supporter who is an attorney. Last year, the rally took place in a grassy area off of San Pedro Avenue near Park North Drive due to scheduling conflicts with the event’s original location, San Antonio Milam Park. The march and rally drew a crowd of a few hundred.

Image courtesy Tigers for Life.

In their remarks, Flores and McDaniel emphasized their offices’ commitment to the pro-life movement. Both Flores and Roy are currently in the beginning of their first term in office. Flores was elected in a special runoff election last year on September 18 after a first place finish in the first election on July 31. Flores is the first Republican to represent Senate District 19 since the end of Reconstruction. During his time at the podium, he focused on how his Catholic faith influences his pro-life convictions.

Sen. Flores speaks to rally attendees. Image courtesy Tigers for Life.

Abbott also spoke about how her faith shaped her views on abortion, relating how her favorite place to play growing up was her family’s parish Church. She talked about how her and Governor Greg Abbott’s experience adopting their daughter Audrey solidified their belief that a woman’s decision to place her child for adoption is a brave and selfless choice.

First Lady Cecilia Abbott shares her family’s adoption story. Image courtesy Tigers for Life. 

The event was co-sponsored by several organizations, including Shavano Family Practice, Allied Women’s Center, A Woman’s Haven, LifeChoices Medical Clinic, Abortion Hurts, God Heals, and the Justice Foundation.

Playing a Part in Chip Roy’s Victory

As the tension and excitement from midterms finally comes to a close, I’ve had the opportunity to reflect on my involvement in Chip Roy’s campaign in Texas’s 21st congressional district.

Though I attend school in San Angelo and live in Mike Conaway’s congressional district, I was offered the opportunity to engage voters through blockwalking and phone banking for Chip Roy in an important race against Democrat Joseph Kopser. Having never worked on a campaign before, I was excited to be part of this deployment and get a taste of what “real politics” are like. The dynamic was impactful and increased my sense of respect for those who do this more regularly.

Elections are often seen as a snore to the apolitical crowd, as those who don’t engage don’t know what it takes in terms of campaigning to get someone elected. While I don’t claim to now be an expert, I can affirm that the process requires dedication beyond measure.

I rolled into San Antonio the Thursday evening before election day, and got started right away on Friday morning. After some quick training on blockwalking and how to handle the app we were using, I was ready to engage some voters on my own. Having familiarized myself with Chip’s conservative platform beforehand, I felt good about representing him and his campaign as I went door to door in Bexar County.

While most of the people I ended up talking to had already voted, the concern of many seemed to be the issue of abortion. Chip Roy’s position is clear and easily articulated, as he believes in preserving and protecting life. Because of this, he received endorsements from both Texas Right to Life and National Right to Life. As I explained this to those who inquired, I knew it would compel voters who felt strongly on this issue to get to the polls if they had not already. Later on, our team was lucky enough to meet Chip for lunch, where our respect for his authenticity and principles was solidified.

Reaching these voters takes dedication from both staff and volunteers. It is by no means appealing to walk hundreds of miles over the course of election season in order to get out the vote, but it is beyond effective in cultivating a culture to get voter turnout. That’s what campaigning is all about. It’s one of the few industries that can’t be outsourced or replaced with automation. It requires boots on the ground, inspired people willing to sacrifice time to achieve change for the greater good. It is something that requires you to care.

Blockwalking during the days leading up to an election will naturally put you into contact with an eclectic mixture of people- dedicated voters, people who couldn’t care less, people who just want this whole politics thing to be over. All of it comes down to election day, which I spent with fellow supporters of Chip Roy who were hoping for the best while working the polls in San Antonio. Few people come to the polls willing to change their mind, though we were willing to engage people if need be.

After our hours of walking, making phone calls, and growing to really care about the outcome of this campaign, the watch party in New Braunfels began. Though Chip Roy was projected to win, we couldn’t help but feel ecstatic when he got up on stage to make the announcement that his victory was looking pretty clear. The feeling of seeing the work you pour into something like this pay off is hard to articulate, but it is phenomenal, to say the least.

I’m not from San Antonio, and won’t officially be represented by Chip Roy, but I’ll always have a special sense of respect for his office. He is beyond principled and I have no doubt that he will take his role in Washington, D.C. seriously. I also have a new sense of respect for those who dedicate countless hours working hard to get the most respectable leaders elected, and I look forward to seeing Chip represent Texans with our values in mind in the U.S. House of Representatives.

I’ll never forget the hard work I put into this, and the great results that followed. While we aren’t always promised a victory, understanding the sense of dedication that goes into getting someone like Chip Roy is a lesson that can only be learned by going through it. And the few days I had to learn this dynamic will serve me as I grow and cultivate my career, whether or not it be political.

CD21 Debate: A Disappointment for Libertarians

This past Thursday, a debate was held between the three main candidates running in Texas Congressional District 21, the candidates being Chip Roy (R), Joseph Kopser (D), and Lee Santos (L). As moderator James Forsyth opened the debate, he said that the CD21 race was “one of the most interesting and competitive races on the ballot locally in this political season.” Forsyth chalked this up to Lamar Smith’s leaving Congress after thirty-one years in office, but I would add that it was also interesting because the debate included Santos, a rarity in a political system dominated by two parties. As for the debate topics, the moderator chose to ask the candidates about the national debt, immigration, healthcare, guns, women’s issues, climate change, and cyber-warfare.

During the debate, I felt as if a wall was put up between the two-party candidates and Santos. Neither Kopser nor Roy directly addressed Santos and vice versa. Chip Roy even went so far as to say “my opponent” in his rebuttals–note the singular. Speaking of rebuttals, the only direct rebuttals that happened were between Roy and Kopser. Santos never rebutted her two-party opponents and she never directly attacked them either. Hence why I felt like there was a partition in the middle of the room, three-way debates are unusual and I imagine that Roy and Kopser were not expecting to be debating a thirty-party opponent. Case in point: when I spoke to Chip Roy this past week, asking him why a Libertarian should vote for him over Santos, he was at first dismissive of Santos’ chances of winning before listing issues and stances that he thought would be attractive to libertarian voters.

This is not to imply that Santos was irrelevant in the debate. I was personally ecstatic that a Libertarian broke through the two-party stranglehold on debates, but as I watched the debate, I was heavily disappointed. I was glad that the moderator went easy on the questioning because I felt that Santos would not have been prepared for it. The reason I say this is that Santos, at least in the first quarter of the debate, had a “deer-in-the-headlights” look on her face whenever she answered questions. It looked sheepish, as if she herself was surprised to have even been there in the first place. She did not look like she had any confidence at all, she was constantly looking at her notes to remind herself of what she was going to say. Even when she did say something, it was often incoherent at best. When she was answering a question about she would do about cybersecurity, she began by talking about her time living in Kazakhstan and saying that we cannot trust the Russians. She said the same about China, but then she suddenly meandered into mentioning Jamal Khashoggi, the Washington Post journalist who is believed to have been killed by the Saudi government. My question to Santos: what on earth does Khashoggi have to do with cybersecurity?

Other times, it seems like Chip Roy was much better at explaining his position–which often resembled libertarianism–than Santos. On healthcare, all Santos said was that the entire industry should be privatized and that she was victimized by Obamacare. In contrast, Roy laid out a quick but detailed proposal on healthcare: he attacked the idea of placing people into Medicaid rolls as “insuring more people” while advocating for more personal access to physicians and more portable access to insurance. While I do not take issue with either Roy or Santos’ general view of healthcare and where it should go, I felt as though Roy was more articulate and detailed on the issue than Santos. On women’s issues, Santos started her response by talking about LGBT rights and a transgender family member serving in Afghanistan. Again, what does her response have to do with the question at hand? She did back on track with her response, but when asked about Planned Parenthood a few minutes later, she vaguely stated that she “supports Planned Parenthood,” in part because she was a customer there. And herein lies my main criticism of Santos’ performance.

While I have been appalled at the extensive infighting within the Libertarian Party, I do think lines need to be drawn on who should run for office. This is hard to do because as a third-party, we simply do not have the manpower to field a candidate for every single office in the country. Very few Libertarian candidates actually go through a contested primary, so for most Libertarians who run, there is nobody to challenge them on their beliefs from a libertarian angle. This allows for a wide diversity of candidates to run for office, which can be a good and a bad thing. Good because libertarianism is an umbrella ideology and can come in many different forms; bad because some people will associate that one person they know is a libertarian and frame that person as representative of the entire ideology. Additionally, I belong to a camp within the LP that advocates for fielding strong and likeable candidates, not just anyone who wants to run.

At many instances during the debate, Santos was vague about her positions or said something that was anathema to libertarian ideology. Going back to her response about women’s issues, her stance on Planned Parenthood raises some questions. By support, does she mean personal or governmental support? Would she be okay with the government forcing me to pay for her to go see a doctor at Planned Parenthood? For now, I will give her the benefit of the doubt, but her positions on other issues give me pause. On guns, she thinks we need to eliminate bump stocks and raise the legal age of purchasing rifles to 21. On environmental policy, she thinks we need to make a transition to electric cars and “push [recycling] forward,” whatever those statements are supposed to mean. At face value, Santos comes off as a more liberal type that wants government out of most spheres of life but more involved in other places. To be clear, libertarianism is utterly opposed to the idea that government can solve all of society’s problems, and in this vein, Santos is no libertarian. If anything, she’s a left-leaning statist with some streaks of libertarianism, and in the debate, she was completely outflanked by Chip Roy who eloquently (and objectively) made a stronger case for libertarian ideas than Santos did, despite Roy being a self-professed conservative.

If there is any takeaway from this debate, it is that Libertarians need to be critical of their candidates and their party when it fails, as it inevitably will at times. To be clear, I am optimistic about our electoral chances in the years to come and I am generally impressed with the candidates that the LP has put forward in Texas. But I say “generally” because there are Libertarian candidates that I would avoid voting for because I do not think they represent the ideology and the party well enough to warrant my support. And make no mistake, Santos is one of those people. If anything, she did not offer anything unique or exciting in the debate, missing an opportunity to explain to voters why they should choose freedom and liberty over coercion and tyranny and calling out her opponents for endorsing the same tired solutions to the nation’s problems.

Trinity Students Knock Chip Roy to Victory

Chip Roy is the Republican nominee for Texas’s 21st congressional district. His placement in the runoff was secured by more than 7,000 votes in the March 6 primary, and fewer than 300 votes in Bexar county. While Roy was a favorite, having served as Senator Ted Cruz’s Chief of Staff and then as the Director for the Center for the 10th Amendment and Vice President of Strategy at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, his victory was not assured. Members of the Young Conservatives of Texas at Trinity University knocked on more than 6,000 doors in Bexar county to turn out the vote for him.

Lamar Smith has been the U.S. Representative for Texas’s 21st District since 1987. TX-21 stretches from Southwest Austin, down I-35 to Trinity at the southernmost edge, and out to Fredricksburg. After several decades in Congress, Smith announced earlier this year that he would not be seeking reelection. 18 Republican candidates filed for the race.

With 18 candidates, a runoff was all but guaranteed. William Negley, who had hired the high powered campaign consulting firm Murphy Nasica, narrowly missed the runoff to Chip Roy and Matt McCall, who had challenged Smith several times before, earning 25-30% of the primary vote each time. Texas primary runoff elections were on May 22, and Chip Roy beat Matt McCall with just under 2,000 votes. Roy won Bexar county by more than 1,000 votes.

Campaign managers and consultants of all stripes and ideologies are in agreement that knocking on doors and other forms of direct voter contact, rather than TV ads and yard signs, are the most effective ways to win elections. There are other factors of course, but there are few things as effective as simple blockwalking. This makes the 6K+ doors that Trinity students knocked on in the weeks leading up to the March 6 and May 22 elections an invaluable contribution to Chip Roy’s place on the ballot in November.

Chip Roy will face Democrat Joseph Kopser on November 6.

Chip Roy Announces “Heart of Texas Tour”

TX-21 Republican candidate Chip Roy has announced that he will be going on a tour of all 10 counties in the district throughout August, ahead of the November 6 election. Roy’s announcement post on Facebook boasts “more than 21 public events in 21 days across TX-21.” The topics listed on the campaign website indicate that the focus of the events will be on security, health care, and economic issues, including taxes and regulations. 

TX-21, long held by incumbent Lamar Smith (R), is generally considered a safe Republican district, rated R+10 by the Cook Political Report, and the slew of endorsements Roy has received, including from the retiring Smith, aid his chances.

FEC filings indicate that Roy’s Democratic challenger Joseph Kopser has spent over $300,000, more than 25% of total campaign disbursements, on campaign consulting firms, including over $203,000 to Resonance Campaigns, more than $84,000 to Global Strategy Group, and more than $42,000 to Berger Hirschberg Strategies. Conversely, Roy’s campaign is grassroots-focused, and this latest announcement reflects that.

Kopser has been on a similar tour of the district, accusing Roy of “avoiding the voters of TX-21,” and it is not difficult to imagine how Kopser’s campaign might further accuse Roy of imitating the tour. These claims fall flat, however, after just a cursory look at past events hosted by Roy on Facebook, including several meet-and-greets, debates, and blockwalk events at which Roy was present.

The first event is August 9 in Blanco. Find the schedule and RSVP links here.